Watermelon with mint herb cream cheese

Queso fresco, simply meaning ‘fresh cheese’, is a favourite in Spain and many countries in Latin America. It is a light, moist, fresh, mild, creamy cheese that can complement everything from salad to savoury dishes.

A light creamy fetta can be used as a substitute. Soaking the fetta in water for a short while will reduce the saltiness if you find it too much.

Watermelon is usually a tricky fruit to wine pair, but the versatility of sparkling rosé is more than a match. The combination of creamy, spicy cheese with the refreshing watermelon and mint, united with the fruity flavour of the sparkling rosé, is sensational.

This pairing suggestion, which unites sparkling rosé with water-melon and mint, should excite your taste buds with the unfamiliar combination of sensations.

Recipe from Paired: Champagne & Sparkling Wines by Fran Flynn and David Stevens-Castro.

Ingredients:

500g (1lb 2oz) queso fresco or smooth fetta
1 garlic clove, roasted until soft
1 small fresh chilli, seeded and finely diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons fresh mint, destemmed and finely chopped
½ watermelon

Directions:

1. Use a blending stick or blender to mix the cheese, garlic, chilli, lemon juice, olive oil and mint (reserve some additional mint for serving). Process until smooth.

2. Serve with dipping sticks of chilled fresh watermelon sprinkled with finely chopped mint. Use a small spoon to smear the watermelon with the dip.

Tips:

Read more of Australian-based wine expert David Stevens-Castro's top tips for sophisticated food and wine pairing here.